Cdre Munir Tahiru SAMPLING OF possible Service Commanders for the three arms of the Ghana Armed Forces has reached a feverish pitch as the national security apparatus digs for more background data about those short-listed for the appointments.
A source has hinted DAILY GUIDE that the political correctness of the candidates is the main determinant in this regard.
As for the military appropriateness of the candidates at that level, there is usually no question about that, since they are assumed to have proved their mettle, having risen from the junior ranks of their various arms to the present level of General.
Whoever gets the pie must certainly not be part of those ex-President Rawlings described as bad commanders, details of which he withheld when he spoke about the military recently, but which are certainly known to the national security apparatus.
An ex-national security chief in the NDC regime is also said to be playing a role in the choice of Service Commanders.
The background check of the shortlist for the top level appointments involves not only the national security apparatus but also the defence intelligence machinery.
The military is one organization which is meticulous about backgrounds; this is evidenced from the early days of the commencement of training as a cadet where cadet officers are given regimental numbers which are changed to the Gh numbers as part of the commissioning procedure.
Even before commissioning, background checks on the potential officers are undertaken by intelligence personnel.
But whatever the outcome of the formalities preceding the announcement of the names of the new service commanders, Mr. Rawlings' word would carry the day.
While some of the Generals in their youthful days played some roles in the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the following Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and caught the eyes of the ex-pilot, others by dint of luck were engaged elsewhere and so did not have much to do with the mainstream activities of the “revolutionary” soldiers.
Those who caught the attention of Mr. Rawlings in those days and get the recommendation of the retired Generals who dined in the residence of the ex-President in the twilight of the Kufuor administration could scale the obstacle of selection.
In the Navy, one Commodore currently serving as Defence Adviser at the Ghanaian mission in the North African country appears to be the favourite of his colleagues and ratings.
Commodore Munir Tahiru has been in Egypt for the past two or so years ago but his name keeps popping up for the topmost naval position even as his colleague Commodore Quashie is following in his heels.
Fluent in Arabic, he is said to be working well in the diplomatic world, an experience which he could employ when he heads the Navy.
It appears that many Northern indigenes have reached the top of the Services as evidenced in the Air Force where Air Cdre Samson Oje, the Takoradi Air Force Base Commander, and his Northern kinsman, Air Cdr IS Kadiri of the Air Force Headquarters are both on the threshold of heading the blue-uniformed service.
Air Cdre Samson Oje is a junior to Kadiri having been commissioned on 16/6/78 and the latter on 31/5/76.
Air Cdre Krakue is also in the reckoning.
With Maj Gen A.K. Abdulai also on the shortlist for Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) position, an Accra Zongo man, there is the likelihood that an attempt would be given to spreading the positions across the country so that they are not tilted to one part.
That could be used to thwart the efforts of the ex-President, but whether they would succeed or not is another story.
Mr. Rawlings has not hidden his interest in partaking in the choice of Commanders of key points in the military as manifested in his latest outburst when he said some bad commanders have lost the faith of their men.
A source hinted that besides taking part in the choice of Service Commanders, he could even go beneath that level and direct the high command about who commands the Southern and Northern Commands and even such operational units like the Recce, Artillery and the battalions strewn across the country.
Of particular interest to the ex-pilot in the Ghana Air Force would be who commands his former formation.
He knows the Air Commodores too well and their possible political dispositions and would particularly not allow anybody to outdo him in the choice, a source hinted.
Barring unforeseen developments, the Ghana Armed Forces could outdoor new Service Commanders in the following week.
Also on the plate of the national security apparatus is the choice of an Inspector General of Police even as the acting female officer would not mind getting the go-ahead to continue in the cockpit of the foremost national security organization.
Mr. Mohammed Alhassan, Western Regional Commander; Mr. W.K. Aboa, former Director of the Ghana Immigration Service; and Mr. Paul Quaye are expecting the pendulum to swing their way.
As in the military, the ex-President is said to have a say in the choice.
By A.R. Gomda